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Simeone talks Carrasco, Griezmann, De Paul, Europa League after Atletico Madrid 2-2 Leverkusen



Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Atletico Madrid’s season took a turn for the worse on Wednesday night as they were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League following their 2-2 draw against Bayer Leverkusen.

Coming into the game, Los Rojiblancos knew that they needed to match FC Porto’s result against Club Brugge to stay alive in the competition. And while the Portuguese side cruised to a win in their match, Atletico could not muster up a win.

Having gone down twice in the game, Atleti forced their way back through goals from Rodrigo De Paul and Yannick Carrasco. And the latter could have won it for his team late in stoppage time, but saw his penalty get saved, confirming the Rojiblancos exit.

Speaking after the match, manager Diego Simeone expressed disappointment at how things had panned out for his team, while also commenting on the performances of his players and the team’s prospects in the Europa League, which they need to qualify for as the third-place in Group B is still up for grabs.

On the UCL elimination: “A difficult, hard and unexpected moment in the project we have at the club. It is the second time in ten years that we have been here that we have been eliminated. It was not planned but it is reality, which also says that last year it cost us a lot.

“And this time, despite the fact that I think we deserved more, there are two places to put yourself, in victimhood or in continuing to work, I choose to continue working.”

On how De Paul’s introduction improved the team: “In the first half the team was thick, they couldn’t find ways and they scored on the two occasions they had. They took advantage of that and in the second half, it was a dynamic team, intense, with speed, with arrival, with the feeling that we were going to win.

“The synthesis of what has happened to us in this Champions League was the penalty. It was finished, they call us, the goalkeeper saves, Saúl hits the crossbar and Reinildo’s shot hits Carrasco. When things are taken out of your life others appear and we will look for the ones that will appear.”

On whether he spoke to Carrasco: “Yannick had a great game, he returned to his best level. It’s a satisfying note. The good performance of De Paul, of Kondogbia, the effort of Molina… Within a hard defeat, a negative moment, there are good things.”

On qualifying for the Europa League: “It will be difficult because you have to win, Porto will want to win to be first, Club Brugge will most likely lose in Germany. We have to win.”

On leaving Stefan Savic on the bench: “I understood that with Hermoso we could have a faster exit pass to connect between the lines. Savic and Giménez came from many games together and we saw that we could improve that start with a fresh central defender, as we have been playing every three days. 

“I saw the possibility of playing with Hermoso and Giménez to improve that situation. Neither Hermoso nor Correa are responsible, the second half we played better.”

On why Carrasco took the penalty: “Just like against Espanyol, at the last minute he shot at a difficult moment for the team and scored the goal. He also shot against Real Madrid and is one of the shooters who can take charge. Griezmann was tired and Yannick assumed the responsibility and that is very valuable on my part.”

On whether Antoine Griezmann should have taken it: I don’t agree with anything you say. But I value and accept it because it is an opinion. Griezmann was very tired and Carrasco asked for the ball as the referee went to VAR. And Carrasco is one of the penalty-takers. 

“When a shooter is confident and asks for a penalty, his teammates gave it to him and unfortunately it went wrong and allows us to have the opinion that you are developing.”

On his mindset after the game: “I have no doubt that the Champions League is difficult for me. We lost one final on penalties and another in the 93rd minute. But I’m hard-headed, I’m going to keep pushing till I am at this club, entering the Champions League first and searching and finding something that we lack.”

Source: AS

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Atletico Madrid News

Ancelotti talks Courtois, Militao, Bellingham, VAR controversies ahead of Las Palmas vs Real Madrid



Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Coming off a highly controversial game against Almeria, Real Madrid will now travel to Gran Canaria to take on Las Palmas tomorrow as part of the early kick-off.

Carlo Ancelotti spoke about the clash tomorrow, starting off by confirming his goalkeeper for tomorrow, “Lunin will start tomorrow.”

He also added that Madrid were looking to get back to their usual level after back-to-back poor performances, one of which included elimination against Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey round of 16.

“We are motivated to return to our best level after 2 bad games.”

The Italian gaffer also commented on the biggest football story in the world today, which was Jurgen Klopp announcing his decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season.

“It’s quite surprising, I understand. Working for a long time with the same club and players lowers your motivation a bit. He’s doing a fantastic job at Liverpool.”

And of course, Ancelotti also spoke about the leaked VAR audiovisual, some of which are highly controversial for all parties involved. Barcelona coach and players have also commented on the same, in light of the Negreira case.

“They have talked a lot. Everyone knows what has happened in the last 20 years in Spanish football. The Civil Guard is carrying out an investigations. That is the real problem of Spanish football.”

Luckily for the manager and fans, all injured players — minus the ACL trio of David Alaba, Eder Militao, and Thibaut Courtois — are available. Jude Bellingham is suspended, however.

“Everyone is available now after the recent period of injuries.”

“Making up for Bellingham’s absence tomorrow? Brahim and Joselu are available options. They were able to show themselves after I relied on them as substitutes,” he added.

And as far as Militao and Courtois are concerned, both of whom tore their ACL early in the season, Ancelotti suggested that they could make their return before the season ends.

“Courtois and Militão both have the option to play this season. The recovery process is going very well, they are training on an individual level. It is February and these types of injuries last 6-8 months, so I think they will recover before the end of the season.”

Source: Mundo Deportivo

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